Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dr. Ciera Graham, CEO of Dr. C Graham Consulting, located in Spanaway, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I started this business in 2020 during COVID. Like many people who started businesses during COVID—I needed something to keep me busy while the rest of the world shut down, and creating multiple streams of income is a way to ensure economic security during hard times. As a business owner, I provide career coaching services to entry and mid-level professionals, and I am a freelance writer. My writing niche is career development, leadership, education, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and social justice. My writing has been featured in Entrepreneur, Medium, the Seattle Times, the Everett Herald, Best Colleges, and more.
I provide career coaching services from resume and cover letter development, assistance with job search and interview preparation, and more. My ideal client is an entry to mid-level professional who may just be starting their job search, making a career shift, or is in the process of working towards an executive-level or senior-level role. I work with a lot of new and/or recent college graduates who are looking to enhance their confidence around their careers and those who are experiencing uncertainty or anxiety around their careers.
Tell us about yourself
I am a multi-passionate millennial entrepreneur. I have an educational administration background and work in education full-time. I come from very humble beginnings. Neither of my parents has a college degree, but they are two of the most intelligent and successful people I know. They taught me the value of hard work and perseverance and to channel that in everything I do. I have always had a love for learning, helping people, and inspiring people to think critically about the world they live in.
What motivates me each day is to help and inspire people to build their self-confidence and to encourage and challenge people to think about the world differently. As long as these two things are being achieved, I am happy. I chose entrepreneurship because it allows me to be authentically myself in ways a traditional 9-5 does not. People are able to connect with me as a person, and if I am being anything but myself, I am doing a disserve to my clients.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I have been able to establish online visibility and build clientele without investing a whole lot of money into my business. I think this is a common misconception for new business owners—the idea that you must invest a lot of money in your business to be successful. Establish your visibility, build your audience first and foremost, and then invest more money into your operations as you grow.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Finding and making time to build your business. I have only owned a business for three years and still work full-time. I also do not have any employees. I am the CEO, the career coach, the writer, the marketer, the content developer, and the social media manager. For new business owners, this is one of the hardest tasks as it is hard to find time for all these things and to do them well.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Invest in yourself consistently—starting a business is one thing, but in order to stay ahead and garner new clients—you need to be informed and knowledgeable on the latest trends. Get additional certifications, read books, immerse yourself in podcasts, and network with like-minded professionals.
- Decide on your ideal client and then work backwards—get really clear on who you want to serve and how you want to serve them and stick to it. If you can nail down who would most benefit from your business—it makes it very easy to market to them and create engaging content for them.
- Automate, automate, automate—this is especially useful for solo entrepreneurs. Find cheap and affordable ways to automate business processes, as it will save you a wealth of time. Even something as simple as using Calendly for appointment booking is a huge time saver!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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